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19 Apr, 2021 12:57

Taiwan says it’s looking to buy US missiles with 925-km range, as tensions in South China Sea simmer

Taiwan says it’s looking to buy US missiles with 925-km range, as tensions in South China Sea simmer

The head of Taiwan’s defense ministry’s strategic planning section has told lawmakers that the government is seeking to procure, from the US, air-to-surface missiles with a possible range of 925km, to bolster its defenses.

Speaking on Monday, Lee Shih-chiang, head of Taiwan’s defense ministry’s strategic planning department, noted Lockheed Martin Corp’s AGM-158 missile when asked about weapons Taiwan wants to buy but which Washington is yet to sign-off on.

“We are still in the process of seeking it,” Lee said of the US-produced missile, adding “communication channels are very smooth and normal.”

Lockheed Martin’s AGM-158 is an air-to-surface standoff missile, with an updated model having an extended range of nearly 1,000 kilometers (621 miles). The missile would give Taiwanese aircraft over the South China Sea the capability to hit targets far inside China. 

Also on rt.com Taiwan ‘very willing’ to work with US to counter China’s ‘adventurous maneuvers and provocations’

The missile, which has an armor-piercing warhead, can be integrated onto a number of aircraft assets and has a unit cost of around a million dollars. The missile is hard to detect and travels at subsonic speeds. It is currently in use with the US, Australian and Polish air forces.

Last week, President Tsai Ing-wen told an unofficial delegation from Washington Taiwan was “very willing” to work with the US and other “like-minded countries” to deter China, which has sent many jets to fly over the island in recent weeks.

China, which sees Taiwan as an integral part of its territory, has slammed the US for meddling in its internal affairs. The US has been actively seeking to reinforce its military cooperation with Taiwan by arms deals and by sending a military ship to the Taiwan Strait. It has also sent former Senators to meet the island’s leadership. All of this is seen by Beijing as a violation of the One China principle.

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